Jon “White Feather” Greendeer Champions “Food is Our Medicine” Mission for Ho-Chunk Nation

Jul 8, 2024

50 Faces. 50 Stories. 50 Years of Fighting Hunger.

Hunger Task Force is proud to be Milwaukee’s only Free & Local food bank and Wisconsin’s anti-hunger leader. In celebration of our 50th Anniversary, Hunger Task Force is highlighting “50 Faces of Ending Hunger,” honoring the anti-hunger heroes who champion Free & Local and support our mission to end hunger.


Jon “White Feather” Greendeer is a distinguished leader within the Ho-Chunk Nation and is recognized for his commitment to the well-being, cultural preservation and overall health of his tribal community. Currently serving as President of the Ho-Chunk Nation, Greendeer has devoted his career to fostering a holistic approach to wellness, firmly rooted in indigenous traditions and practices.

Elected President in 2011 and again in 2023, Greendeer has consistently championed the needs of his people. Following his initial term ending in 2015, he continued serving the Ho-Chunk Nation in various capacities including as the Health and Wellness Coordinator. In this role, he advocated for culturally informed approaches to preventing diabetes and obesity while emphasizing the significance of indigenous food systems and traditional practices.

Greendeer’s philosophy is deeply entwined with the Ho-Chunk belief that “food is medicine.” He highlights that the traditions and way of life of the Ho-Chunk people have historically centered around developing and maintaining their food sources. This core principle forms the foundation of the health initiatives he promotes within the tribe.

“In our culture, our food is our medicine. Our traditions, our way of life, the way of life that was built around developing our food sources,” Greendeer explains. His efforts have resulted in an increase in local tribal growers and producers.

Greendeer recognizes the challenges faced by rural communities in obtaining nutritious food. “People in rural areas often lack the advantages of sourcing food supplies due to transportation and financial issues as well as a legacy of eating habits rooted in poverty,” says Greendeer. “Over time, we’ve seen the quality of food getting better. Local growers, small family farms and indigenous producers started coming into the picture.”

During the pandemic, the partnership between the Ho-Chunk Nation and Hunger Task Force became even stronger as both organizations strived to improve infrastructure and deliver healthy food with dignity to communities throughout the state. This collaboration has been instrumental in motivating tribal growers to utilize land, develop plans and seek funding to support their endeavors. Greendeer’s vision and leadership have not only bolstered food security but have also encouraged a return to traditional food practices to help the preservation of the community’s health and cultural heritage.

Greendeer remains committed to leading with a focus on resilience, education and cultural pride. Under Greendeer’s leadership, the Nation’s initiatives aim to safeguard their heritage, promote health and wellness and ensure a more self-sufficient future for the Ho-Chunk Nation.

Meet the 50 Faces of Ending Hunger!

Click below to discover real people making a difference in the fight against hunger – new faces added each month! As we journey through our 50th year, keep checking back to meet more incredible individuals making a difference.